Chemo, Hair Loss, And Waiting To Grow Again

Chemo, Hair Loss, And Waiting To Grow Again

Chemotherapy is a liar and a thief. It lies, because it makes us feel impossibly sick–so sick we cannot possibly recover. It steals, because it causes most of us to lose the physical characteristics we associate with personal identity: our hair, eyelashes, nose hairs (trust me, you’ll miss them more than you might think), facial shape, and sometimes fingernails and skin. (You don’t lose *all* your skin, of course, but it becomes a crackly, dried-out thing you might not recognize.) This was me at the start of my cancer journey: This is me today:

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We Interrupt This Program…

… for an update on the 100 Summits project and my cancer treatment. I completed my last chemotherapy infusion two weeks ago today. My side effects are mostly gone, with the notable exception of my nearly-bald head, which will likely remain almost completely hairless for at least another week before I start getting “baby fuzz.” If everything goes as expected, I’ll have a little “real hair” within six weeks.

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Once More Into the Breach

Once More Into the Breach

This morning, I head to the infusion center for my final chemotherapy infusion. Unlike so many endings in life, this one is not bittersweet. (In fact, since I gave up sugar entirely during chemotherapy, but brought a box of lemon Pocky back from Japan to enjoy when it was over, I can tell you the end of chemo will be very sweet indeed.) That said, I don’t regret my decision to undergo chemotherapy after my breast cancer diagnosis, even though my stage (1a) made it my choice rather than something I “had” to do.

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Onward, Into the Breach!

Onward, Into the Breach!

Yesterday, my husband and I sold the house we’ve called home for the last 14 years and moved to a rental apartment where we’ll spend the next two months (and a little more) while waiting on our visa application for the move to Japan. When I decided, a year ago, to close my law practice and take a sabbatical year to climb the nihon hyakumeizan (hundred famous mountains of Japan) the endeavor seemed crazy but exciting–a chance to face my fears and live the life I’d always dreamed of living. Now that the time has come, it’s also terrifying.

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100 Summits, Plus 1 More: Chemotherapy (Day 1)

100 Summits, Plus 1 More: Chemotherapy (Day 1)

In 2018, I will attempt to become the first American woman over 45  to climb the Nihon hyakumeizan (100 famous mountains of Japan) in a single year. Given my recent cancer diagnosis and surgery, I believe I’ll also be the only person of any age to climb them within a year of completing chemotherapy. My oncologist described the journey as “100 summits, plus one more.” I started up the first one yesterday – even though I didn’t walk a step. Since I plan to chronicle the entire 100 Summits experience here on the blog, I’m including my “climb” through chemotherapy also

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